Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 26, Issue 10, pp 9585–9598 | Cite as

Characterization of iron-metabolizing communities in soils contaminated by acid mine drainage from an abandoned coal mine in Southwest China

  • Pin Gao
  • Xiaoxu Sun
  • Enzong Xiao
  • Zhixian Xu
  • Baoqin Li
  • Weimin SunEmail author
Research Article


Acid mine discharge (AMD) has been demonstrated to have significant impacts on microbial community composition in the surrounding soil environment. However, their effect on adjacent soil has not been extensively studied. In this study, microbial community composition of 20 AMD-contaminated soil samples collected from an abandoned coal mine along an AMD creek was characterized using high-throughput sequencing. All samples were characterized as extremely low in pH (< 3) and relatively enriched in HCl-extractable Fe species. The dominant phylotypes were belonging to genera Ochrobactrum, Acidiphilium, Staphylococcus, Brevibacterium, and Corynebacterium. Canonical correspondence analysis results revealed that the HCl-extractable Fe(III) had a strong impact on the soil microbial assemblage. Co-occurrence network analysis revealed that Aquicella, Acidobacteriaceae, Ochrobactrum, Enhydrobacter, Sphingomonas, and Legionellales were actively correlated with other taxa. As expected, most of the abundant taxa have been reported as acidophilic Fe-metabolizing bacteria. Hence, a co-occurring sub-network and a phylogenetic tree related to microbial taxa responsible for Fe metabolism were constructed and described. The biotic interaction showed that Dechloromonas exhibited densely connections with Fe(III)-reducing bacteria of Comamonas, Burkholderia, Shewanella, Stenotrophomonas, Acidithiobacillus, and Pseudomonas. These results demonstrated that Fe-metabolizing bacteria could have an important role in the Fe biogeochemical cycling.


Acid mine drainage Microbial community Fe-metabolizing bacteria Co-occurrence network 



We thank Hanna Han and her team from Shenzhen Ecogene Co., Ltd. for NGS technical service.

Funding information

This research was funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41771301, 41420104007), the High-level Leading Talent Introduction Program of GDAS (2016GDASRC-0103), GDAS’ Special Project of Science and Technology Development (2018GDASCX-0601 and 2017GDASCX-0106), the Science and Technology Planning Project of Guangdong Province (2016B070701015), and the Guangxi Innovation Drive Development Fund (AA17204076).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pin Gao
    • 1
    • 2
  • Xiaoxu Sun
    • 1
  • Enzong Xiao
    • 3
  • Zhixian Xu
    • 1
  • Baoqin Li
    • 1
  • Weimin Sun
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Guangdong Key Laboratory of Integrated Agro-environmental Pollution Control and ManagementGuangdong Institute of Eco-Environmental Science and TechnologyGuangzhouChina
  2. 2.College of Environmental Science and Engineering, Textile Pollution Controlling Engineering Center of Ministry of Environmental ProtectionDonghua UniversityShanghaiChina
  3. 3.Innovation Center and Key Laboratory of Waters Safety and Protection in the Pearl River Delta, Ministry of EducationGuangzhou UniversityGuangzhouChina

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